Nov.29, 2013

With the acquisition in May 2013 of Phidias Technologies, Raphael Gorge, chief executive officer of French engineering company Groupe Gorge (GOE), says the Gorgé Group is now ready to join the 3D printing arena and to play a major role in the next generation industrial revolution.

Gorge acquired 88 percent of 3D printer maker Phidias Technologies for 4.8 million euros ($6.5 million) in May. Phidias is now renamed Prodways and had 1 million euros in sales in 2012 and an earnings margin of 15 percent.

Prodways claims to have achieving unparalleled perfection of the parts produced using its proprietary MOVINGLight technology that combines UVA LED and moving DLP.

Prodways is the first 3D printer manufacturer to introduce a moving DLP head allowing the projection of the image to cure as the head moves. Moving a DLP over a large build area allows the individual images to be small, hence much more focused and more precise than if they covered the whole platform and did not move. It uses also UVA LEDs to increases the speed of the polymerization reaction so the layer can be built much faster.

The company says it has achieved "a world record in resolution and precision even on large parts". And it expects the market for such printers is about $400 million.

Features:

  • Most detailed parts on the market at high throughput: hundreds of tiny parts in just a few hours at a resolution of less than 35-µm
  • Unequalled resolution, more than half a billion pixels per layer
  • High precision in all 3 dimensions (horizontal and vertical), essential in many applications such as dental
  • Very large sized parts while retaining the same precision required for intricate and exacting parts
  • The technology permits the use and development of premium innovative composite and hybrid materials
  • Superior surface quality requiring minimum finishing

The MOVINGLight technology was invented by Andre-Luc Allanic, founder of Phidias in 2007. Allanic is a former principal scientist of 3D Systems and a specialist and pioneer in 3D Printing. Totally around 17 3D printers were sold essentially in Europe, with Germany being the company's main market.

Part of Prodways' know-how is the creation of premium composites and hybrid materials. Its technology has permitted the use and development of these materials with impressive mechanical, physical, esthetic properties.



"Our machines are three to four times more productive than those of our biggest rivals," Raphael Gorge told bloomberg. The company is targeting clients in the dental-prosthesis industry, such as dental-product maker Align Technology. The dental-prosthesis companies are the biggest 3D printing application in volume worldwide, said the CEO. And their machines can print up to 100 dental models in five hours which is very impressive.

In 2014, the company plans to sell more than 10 printers and each cost 300,000 euros to 400,000 euros to high-end of the market. Meanwhile Prodways is also developing its own resins for incresing its annual revenue.

Prodways will showcase its new range of 3D printers for 2014 at Euromold (Hall 11.0E28) this year. Four new machines based on Prodways technology will be presented:

M350 Producer: The M350 was designed to produce large parts of diagonals greater than 1 meter and up to 550 mm high, as well as smaller parts in large quantities.

M350 Height Control: High performance of the M350 with extremely precise part-height control

K20 Producer: specifically designed for composite parts

Due to its unique processing capacity of very highly viscous materials (pasty textures), K20 is designed for manufacturing composite parts, particularly ceramic and metal with 3D printing. The resulting parts present a very high density, reaching 95 to 99% for ceramic, for example.

D35 Producer: Highest precision in all 3 dimensions for biomedical and dental applications.


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